8 people arrested in Paraguay heist: Brazilian police

Police experts inspect the damages at the headquarters of private security company Prosegur in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on April 24, 2017.
Police experts inspect the damages at the headquarters of private security company Prosegur in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on April 24, 2017.PHOTO: EPA
A view of the headquarters of the private security company Prosegur after a heist last night in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on April 24, 2017.
A view of the headquarters of the private security company Prosegur after a heist last night in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on April 24, 2017.PHOTO: EPA
A handout photo made available by the Brazilian Federal Highway Police, shows a rifle seized in the city of Sao Miguel do Iguacu, Brazil, on April 24, 2017.
A handout photo made available by the Brazilian Federal Highway Police, shows a rifle seized in the city of Sao Miguel do Iguacu, Brazil, on April 24, 2017.PHOTO: EPA
A handout picture provided by the Brazilian Federal Highway Police, shows a bulletproof vest seized in the city of Sao Miguel do Iguacu, Brazil, on April 24, 2017.
A handout picture provided by the Brazilian Federal Highway Police, shows a bulletproof vest seized in the city of Sao Miguel do Iguacu, Brazil, on April 24, 2017.PHOTO: EPA
Policemen inspect the premises of multinational company Prosegur after a robbery in Ciudad del Este, Alto Parana department, Paraguay, in the triple border with Brazil and Argentina on April 24, 2017.
Policemen inspect the premises of multinational company Prosegur after a robbery in Ciudad del Este, Alto Parana department, Paraguay, in the triple border with Brazil and Argentina on April 24, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazilian police on Tuesday (April 25) said eight people have been detained after a heist at a security company across the border in Paraguay dubbed "the robbery of the century".

The police in Parana state displayed a haul of dollars and other currencies in plastic bags, as well as a powerful automatic rifle.

They said in total six assault rifles were captured, along with ammunition, two boats and seven vehicles. However, there was no immediate word on how much money was recovered from the raid which could have netted up to US$40 million (S$55.7 million) on Monday.

In addition to the eight suspects in custody, three other men were killed during a shootout on Monday as the Brazilian gangsters retreated back across the border, officials in both countries said.

As many as 50 people were reported by police Monday to have participated in the attack. They included members of First Capital Command, one of Brazil's most powerful drug gangs, which is based in Sao Paulo and has fought turf battles in Rio de Janeiro and across the country's prison system.

Shocked Paraguayan officials said it was an unprecedented incident for Ciudad del Este, a trading hub near the borders of Brazil and Argentina in an area linked to drug gangs.

The target of the raid was Prosegur, a firm specializing in transporting cash. In addition to overwhelming security at the facility, the raiders caused multiple diversions around the city, setting vehicles on fire to block roads and detonating explosives near police headquarters.

One policeman was killed before the attackers escaped.

Paraguayan police said the Prosegur vault "was full" at the time of the robbery and that it had capacity for US$40 million in cash.